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Memories of ‘THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS’ Austria shoot in 1987

While the cameras start to roll on the latest Bond film ‘SPECTRE’ in Altaussee today, let´s look back on January 1987 when Agent 007 visited Sachsenburg for the location shoot of ‘THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS’.

Sachsenburg, a market town on the Drava river in Carinthia, Austria, was host to the 100 people strong Bond production crew that prepared and filmed for the duration of one month at the Weißensee, the Nassfeld as well as the B100 Drautal street and tunnel.
Gerhard Seiwald, a police commander during that time, remembers: „The tunnel was blocked for three weeks for filming the truck explosion. A catering tent had been set up inside the tunnel – extras and filmteam got only the best food and beverages. Everything went according to plan. It was quite an experience to witness this from close range. You see the film with different eyes when you know, how cinema audiences are tricked.”

Filming the tunnel explosion on the B100 Drautal Street / Photo © Rie-Press
Filming the tunnel explosion on the B100 Drautal Street / Photo © Rie-Press

Bond brought the Dutch

Norbert Jank, today known as title-winning ice skater of Weissensee, can even be seen as an extra in the scene. For him, the filming was the start of an ice-skating career: “I responded to a call back in the day and was initially assigned for kitchen duty.” But soon, the producers saw his sense of ice. Jank became a link between the Bond crew, mainly residing in the Hotel Cieslar, and helpers. “People with different talents were needed every day. I had 78 people on my list that I could appoint according to what was needed at the time. With 100 Schilling per hour, they were well paid. Money was immaterial. Besides, there was a lot to see for people on the set and there was very good food by Swiss cooks.” The reports about the filming made Europe interested in the Weissensee region, also the Dutch who perform their annual 11-city-tour here – an enormous value touristically. Jank continues: „I didn´t speak any English back then, but I was glad that Bond Producer Albert R. Broccoli and his daughter Barbara always greeted me with a friendly “Good Morning”. For detailed planning, Jank could communicate in German with the Swiss Location-Manager Stephan Zürcher. Jank was also responsible for the organisation of 10-15 local helpers as well as their compensation formalities. The daily schedule was consistently planned: get up at 6, breakfast, marching to the film set at 7 and start of preparations or filming at 8. Repeating a scene until everything fitted, lunch on the set at -20°, next scene, filming until sunset. The result of this is a six-minute long scene in the final film.

Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli with his daughter Barbara during a filming break at Weißensee / Photo © Rie-Press
Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli with his daughter Barbara during a filming break at Weißensee / Photo © Rie-Press

Breakfast with Broccoli

The filming became especially spectacular with the Aston Martin scenes which Leopold Salcher, Weißensee police commander in 1987, documented for the Kleine Zeitung. Two times he had the honor to have breakfast with legendary Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli: “He told me his family story. His uncle is indeed the inventor – if you like – of the broccoli vegetable. But what fascinated me was his politeness with which he met people. He never forgot his roots and never lost grip on reality.”

Filming the Aston Martin Jump
Filming the Aston Martin Jump
Filming the chase on the frozen lake
Filming the chase on the frozen lake

The Aston Martin jump was filmed with the help of a giant wooden ramp and lots of cardboard boxes and needed to be repeated several times. At one time, the car even crashed into the set. Some tourists however asked themselves, whether the Italians would once again close their border towards Austria with an “Iron Curtain” and lots of barbed wire. Matching guard towers and military vehicles on the set produced further astonishment.

The Austrian border set that Bond crosses with Kara on a cello
The Austrian border set that Bond crosses with Kara on a cello
The "Iron Curtain" on the Naßfeld is only temporary for the new James Bond film. It shall represent the CSSR border
The “Iron Curtain” on the Naßfeld is only temporary for the new James Bond film. It shall represent the CSSR border

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Here is the final scene from the film

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